Feasibility of water reclamation for agricultural and urban reuse in Lower Franconia, Germany

Lower Franconia is one of the driest areas in Bavaria. The region around the city of Schweinfurt is representative for other locations with comparable challenges. In order to guarantee an integrated and sustainable management of the locally overexploited groundwater resources, alternative options for the extraction, distribution and potential uses of reclaimed water are needed.

Figure: Water reuse concept for agricultural and urban irrigation

In addition to the establishment of a stakeholder process, potentially usable alternative water resources as well as the agricultural and urban water demand were quantified and evaluated with regard to their potential. It has been shown that the reuse of a small proportion of the advanced treated wastewater from the wastewater treatment plant in Schweinfurt could reliably replace the entire agricultural and urban irrigation requirement. The local quarry ponds also represent substantial water reservoirs. A corresponding treatment technology could be derived likely meeting existing national, international and user-specific quality requirements. The potential reclaimed water quality generated by advanced treatment technologies (ultrafiltration combined with ozonation or powdered activated carbon) was estimated on the basis of modeling and the resulting risk originating from an irrigation application was assessed. Based on the findings from the stakeholder meetings, concepts and recommendations for the application of reclaimed water for agricultural and urban irrigation purposes were developed. Cost estimates were performed for the process adjustments and for the water reuse concepts for agricultural irrigation.

The project was completed in September 2020. All findings and results are summarised in the final report (German only).

Abschlussbericht - barrierefreie PDF


Project leader Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg E. Drewes
Prof. Dr. Brigitte Helmreich
Researcher Christoph Schwaller
Collaboration BGS Umweltplanung GmbH
Funding Government of Lower Franconia (RUF), Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection